Despite plans, Christian de Portzamparc may not design Carlyle’s Riverside Center

A rendering of Riverside Center
A rendering of Riverside Center

Riverside Center, a five-tower apartment and retail complex between 60th and 61st streets along West End Avenue, will not be designed entirely by renowned architect Christian de Portzamparc, the New York Observer reported. Instead, at least one of the towers will be built by local firm SLCE — despite the fact that de Portzamparc was a big part of how developers Extell and the Carlyle Group sold the project to Upper West Side residents and to City Planning.

“I am extremely disappointed to learn that the developer of Riverside Center has chosen not to retain Christian de Portzamparc as architect for this project,” Amanda Burden, head of the Department of City Planning, told the Observer in a statement.

When complete, Riverside Center will offer 2,500 apartments, a movie theater, auto showroom, office space and parking on what is now the largest piece of vacant land on the Upper West Side. The plans approved by the City Council in late 2010.

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As the Observer notes, Carlyle and Extell bought an undeveloped portion of Donald Trump’s Riverside South development from his Hong Kong-based partners in 2005, for $1.76 million, and planned to build the five-building complex, which includes a school, on part of it.

Carlyle owns the majority stake in the project, and is accepting bids for the construction of each of the five towers.

The change in architect has residents concerned, but not irate. “I was more concerned with the school and the affordable housing, but I can see why people might be angry about this,” councilwoman Gale Brewer told the Observer. [NYO] Guelda Voien